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Scientists may have found 'morning after' gel to protect against HIV/AIDS

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
3/16/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Successful tests with monkeys could hopefully have human applications

The human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, has been controlled with protease inhibitor medications over the past several years. Usually sexually transmitted, HIV/AIDS poses a threat to Africa and large parts of Southeast Asia. Now, scientists have successfully tested a "morning after" gel that administered after sex on monkeys. They hope that the new process can have human applications shortly.

It must be noted that experiments conducted on monkeys don't always predict success among humans, and testing such drugs on humans is complicated and raises serious ethical considerations.

It must be noted that experiments conducted on monkeys don't always predict success among humans, and testing such drugs on humans is complicated and raises serious ethical considerations.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
3/16/2014 (3 years ago)

Published in Health

Keywords: Macaque monkeys, HIV, morning after, gel, experiments


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Researchers have found that monkeys can be protected against HIV infection with a vaginal gel, even when it is administered three hours after sex. The findings were published in Science Translational Medicine last week. The micro-bicidal vaginal gel was applied to macaque monkeys.

In experiments, 12 macaque monkeys were given vaginal washes of simian HIV to mimic sex with an infected monkey. Three hours later, six of these monkeys were then treated with the newly-developed gel and the other six were given a placebo gel.

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Of the six macaques given the new gel, only one was infected with HIV, compared to all six of the monkeys who were treated with the placebo.

If this breakthrough can be successfully applied to human beings, it would represent an important stride for preventing HIV infection, particularly for women who have been raped.

"It could be used for HIV prevention like Plan B or the morning-after pill for contraception," Sharon L. Hillier, a professor of obstetrics at the University of Pittsburgh says.

The gel contains raltegravri, antiretroviral drug already in use for HIV treatment, and some HIV-prevention gels do exist, but they usually require a pre-exposure dose.

It must be noted that experiments conducted on monkeys don't always predict success among humans, and testing such drugs on humans is complicated and raises serious ethical considerations.

The results have been found to be encouraging and add to a sense of optimism in the field of HIV research. Two separate trials last week showed that monkeys who received injections of slow-release HIV drugs were protected from infection for weeks.

In related news, two babies in the U.S. who were born infected with HIV appear to have been cured by large doses of drugs administered soon after birth.

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